Sunday, January 27, 2008

World Social Forum Arakawa, Tokyo


Activists from some 40 Japanese NGOs held events yesterday on January 26 aimed to "further the cause of proposing sustainable alternatives to the neo-liberal worldview". The World Social Forum was held in the Arakawa district of Tokyo, as part of a global day of action.

A series of workshops were held on social justice and greater economic equality. Below is the translated version of their call for action, as well as a list of the workshops. Japanese WSF website here, international WSF website here (English).

Our Call for Action - "Why Does It Have to Be in Arakawa?"
At multiple venues in the Arakawa district, we will be hosting a forum centered on a series of workshops pertinent to the topic of "neo-liberalism" and its alternatives. In every January since 2001, the "World Social Forum" in which social movements from literally around the world come together to demand globalization of hope and solidarity, and reject the globalization based on war and exploitation, have been held. The WSF meetings have been held in regions of the "South" in the sense of position in the relationship of political and economic power, to counteract the worldview based on neo-liberal globalization spearheaded by the economically and militarily powerful countries. This also means that regions of the South can be a base of operation for powerful people's movements that demand a new kind of world order that is free of war and oppression. The significance of holding the WSF Arakawa 1/26 Global Action that will be held in the Arakawa district is also along this line - to remember the memories of war, deepen international understanding, strive for a society that is free of discrimination and oppression, and to cooperate with activists firmly rooted in the community to face the various challenges stemming from globalization in spite of the fact that we are located in Tokyo, one of the centers of the global economy. Our ambition is that whether they have been aware of the WSF until now, people from all walks of life would come to experience the significance of the WSF and of the Global Action Day on 1/26, and make them a springboard for activism as well as an organizing principle of their lives.

Workshops (Organizer/NGO)

1. Palestinian Refugees, and Their Art Education Class (Yasuko Nakamura and Friends)
2. An Investigative Tour against the Rip-Off Company - the Case of Goodwill, Inc. (Union of the Free Arbeiters)
3. Action against Poverty (No-Vox International Solidarity Movement)
4. Illegitimate Debts, and the Write-Off Campaign (St. Columbine Group)
5. GMOs and Life Patent (St. Columbine Group)
6. Population Policy: The South and the North (SOSHIREN)
7. Neo-Liberalism and the Sexual-Reproductive Rights - On Fundamentalism, Morality, Human Rights, and Finance and Commerce: Whose Freedom and Safety Are Being Protected? (Space Allies and collaborators)
8. What Is Happening to the Privatized Postal Service? (People's Network for Watching Privatization of Postal Service)
9. Get Back Public Services!: Kick-Off Rally for Yubari People's Forum for No G8 (Study Group on Public Services of ATTAC)
10. What Will Become of Non-Regular Workers?/What Are The Roles of Union? (Section on Construction Work of the All-Japan Solidarity Union for the Transportation Sector, Kansai)
11. No! To the East Asian Community Plan Led by Capitalists and the State, and Its Alternative (People's Plan Study Group/No to WTO/FTA Coalition)
12. Rice in Asia and Food Sovereignty (Consumer's Union of Japan/Campaign for No to GMOs)
13. The G8 and the Mass Media (No-G8 Media Network)
14. Talking about Le Monde Diplomatique (Friends of Le Monde Diplomatique in Japan)
15. Climate Change - The Planet Is Ours (No to WTA/FTO Coalition)
16. Here All Attacies on 9 AM (ATTAC)
17. No to G8 (No to G8 Action)

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